At the Warren Select Board’s December 14 meeting, Warren constable Gene Bifano came before the board to discuss a recent confrontation he had with a neighbor. On October 6, Bifano approached a logger at a nearby property while walking his dog. Bifano was concerned that the property owner did not have the necessary permits for this kind of work, gave the logger his card identifying him as the town constable and advised them to call the town zoning administrator.
The landowner did contact Ruth Robbins, the town’s zoning administrator/planning coordinator, who confirmed the landowner held the necessary permits and was acting within their rights. The owner then sent a letter to the select board expressing concern about the incident. Bifano asserted that he was acting as a concerned neighbor, not as constable, though Robbins and select board members said that, by saying he was from the town of Warren and providing his business card identifying him as the constable, he was using his influence to intimidate the property owner. They asked Bifano not to follow up in an official capacity and advised that simply asking the property owner to contact the town zoning administrator would have been sufficient in this circumstance.
Also, at its December 14 meeting, the Warren Select Board discussed preliminary town budget items, beginning with the highway budget and the select board budget. Andrew Bombard, Warren Highway Department, presented a proposed highway budget of $240,000, which includes paving, crack sealing the Warren School parking lot and erosion control. The select board advised they hold off on striping in the village until VHB consultants, with whom they recently met, develops a plan for restriping lines in the village. Bombard said they are also waiting to hear estimates from contractors on bridge and culvert work.
The select board also discussed its own budget, which includes the $5,000 for the stewardMRV project that Eric Friedman of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce recently requested to clean and maintain parks, trails and recreation access points. The town budget also includes salary and benefits for a town office assistant, a position that is not currently filled. The board plans to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for HVAC engineering in the Town Hall.
The town is on a two-year waiting list for a reappraisal of the 3,000 properties in the town, which was last done in 2008. There are only three such reappraisers in the state of Vermont.
The select board discussed the issue of oversized vehicles using – and getting stuck in – the covered bridge in Warren. GPSes are known to send drivers, including delivery truck drivers, through the bridge, which they cannot easily fit under. (One such driver did get stuck in the Waitsfield covered bridge on Bridge Street last spring, causing thousands of dollars in damages.) Possible solutions discussed include closing the bridge for the season, putting a gate or other obstruction before the bridge and putting a sensor or flashing lights on the bridge.